Name: Miguel Ramirez
High School: Rockmart High School; Cedartown High School
College (Current or Future): Georgia Northwestern Technical College
Major/Intended Major: Business Management
Financial Aid Program: HOPE Scholarship
Miguel Ramirez has proven it’s never too late to pursue your dreams.
“Growing up in a low-income family, I learned about financial aid programs when I was in middle school,” said Ramirez. “I knew if I was ever going to go to college, financial aid was my only hope.”
But his aspirations of attending college were put on hold when unexpected family events forced Ramirez to drop out of high school during his junior year and work full-time to help pay bills and rent.
“I had a great support system with my family,” Ramirez said to The Calhoun Times. “When family events prevented me from finishing high school, I eventually went back and got my GED from Georgia Northwestern Technical College (GNTC).”
Once he received his GED, Ramirez returned to the workforce but never lost sight of his ultimate goal.
“I had economic and personal obstacles that made me put a halt on my dreams of attending college,” said Ramirez. “Thankfully, we have technical colleges that have been designed to turn people’s dreams into reality.”
Ramirez excelled as a full-time student at GNTC; volunteering for the Human Rights Campaign, serving as a member of the National Honor Society and making the President’s List each semester with a 4.0 GPA that qualified him for the HOPE Scholarship.
“Our best hope for the future are students like Miguel,” said Gerald McFry, director of GNTC’s Business Management program and Ramirez’s instructor. “He’s a full-time student and he holds a full-time job and a part-time job, all while maintaining a perfect grade point average.”
McFry nominated Ramirez for GNTC’s 2017 Georgia Occupational Award of Leadership (GOAL) award, an honor he won January 31, 2017.
“The benefits of attending a technical college are one of the reasons I decided to go back to school,” said Ramirez. “Technical college allows people to be prepared to enter the workforce without running up a lot of student debt.”
Ramirez is already using the knowledge learned at GNTC as a Human Resources Assistant at Apache Mills, a global manufacturer of commercial and domestic floor mats based in Calhoun.
“My degree helps out a lot in my current job,” Ramirez said. “I understand how the manufacturing environment works, as well as the importance of positive employee relations.”
Ramirez was once in a position where a postsecondary education was out of reach, but he now advises others to remember their goals and seek support to make them a reality.
“We sometimes get so caught up in the competitive mindset that we lose sight of the benefits and opportunities that are in front of us,” Ramirez said. “Make friends, constructive friends; friends that will help you in achieving your dreams and inspire you to keep moving forward.”